Brush Me, Daddio

The aforementioned cookbook edited by Marion Howells is Australian. Sort of. The stats:

First published 1970 by Golden Press Pty Ltd
10-16 Dowling Street, Potts Point, Sydney Australia
© Australian Consolidated Press Ltd 1970

This edition first published in the United States of America in 1971 by Crescent Books, A Division of Crown Publishers, Inc., 419 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016

This edition © Octopus Books Limited 1971

I probably received this book in 1975. The recipe:

Strawberry Hazelnut Gateau

4 egg whites
pinch salt
10 oz. (1 1/4 cups) castor (superfine) sugar
4 1/2 oz. (1 cup) ground hazelnuts
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 dessertspoons black coffee


1 lb. strawberries
1 pint (2 cups) whipped cream
6 oz. (6 squares) plain chocolate)

Beat egg whites with salt until stiff; gradually add sugar; beat until mixture is of meringue consistency. Fold in remaining ingredients. Spread n 2 greased and floured 8 in. springform pans. Bake in moderate oven, Mark 4 350ºF, approximately 35 minutes; release sides of pans. Cool on base of pans.

Remove from base, place a layer of meringue on serving plate. Spread with thin layer of chocolate, which has been melted with water. Spread 1/2 in. layer of cream over chocolate. Top with layer of sliced strawberries; reserve remainder for decoration.

Spread second layer of meringue with remaining chocolate mixture; place on strawberry layer, chocolate-side up. Cover and top with cream.

Refrigerate several hours, or preferably overnight. Serve decorated with reserved strawberries.

The cookbook opens with two pages called American Weights and Measures. Even as a kid, I was troubled by these comparisons. You will be relieved to know that the answer to the pertinent question What the fuck is a dessertspoon? is A tablespoon, duh! I know I was! But the tables don’t explain why the list of American dry measures includes weights without mentioning why that would be important, and did you know that in American measures a half-cup is called a gill?

I love that the whipped cream has no sugar in it. The full, rich flavor of cream is a good balance with tart strawberries, semisweet chocolate and the melting sweetness of the meringues. I’ve never tried it with bittersweet chocolate but I’d be very careful not to serve that to persons expecting some form of conventional dessert.

A chocolatier worth his salt reads that recipe and sees a couple of things that shouldn’t work. Make it and see how you feel about it. One thing you should know: this is extremely messy to eat and you should put down a tarp in the formal dining room. It will never cut into neat cake slices so do not think this is your moral failure. Hand out your best spoons and cozy up to the scrumptious gateau.

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